Racial/ethnic differentials in sentencing to incarceration

William D. Bales, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Few criminological topics are as controversial as the relationships between race, ethnicity, crime, and criminal justice outcomes-especially incarceration. This paper assesses whether Blacks and Hispanics are disadvantaged at the sentencing phase of the justice system and whether the findings depend on the use of traditional regression-based methods to control for legally relevant variables vs. the use of precision matching methods, which attend to potential sample selection bias that occurs when there are not exact matches for those sentenced to incarceration and non-incarceration. Analysis of the population of Florida offenders from 1994 to 2006 using both methodologies indicates that Black offenders continue to be disproportionately incarcerated compared to White or Hispanic offenders, and that Hispanic offenders were slightly more likely than White offenders to be incarcerated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-773
Number of pages32
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • disparity
  • incarceration
  • minorities
  • over-representation
  • precision matching

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